OCALA’S GUIDE TO ENTERTAINMENT, NIGHTLIFE & FAMILY FUN
J UL 2022
FANTASTI C FLOR IDA GLAMP ING SPOTS FO R T H E PE R F ECT FA M ILY G E TAWAY
Considering Ocala? PENDING
Spring Grove - 11.77 +/- Acres
Country Club Farms 4.55+/- Acres
Two-story home in equine-friendly gated community located between WEC and the Florida Horse Park. Custom 4-bedroom, 3.5-bath home plus office with private entrance. 2-car garage with bonus room. 77’x25’ workshop/storage building. Perimeter fenced. $1,397,500
4-bedroom, 4.5-bath pool home in gated equine-friendly community. Chef’s kitchen is the hub for entertaining and is open to family room. 4 car detached garage plus a separate 1/1 perfect for guests or gym. $1,450,000 Just minutes to the Florida Greenways and Trails.
29 +/- Prestigious Acres in NW Ocala
Residence Overlooking 28 +/- Acres
3 ensuite bedroom pool home. Just 8 miles to World Equestrian Center. Whether your passion is hunters, thoroughbreds or any other breed of horses, this property offers room to lay out your dream farm, plus room to ride, train and raise your horses or cattle. $2,997,000
4-bedroom, 3-bath home with generous living room, formal dining, family room plus covered porch overlooking the grounds. Barn/ equipment building features guest quarters with full bath. Located close to amenities. $2,450,000
Let Joan Pletcher, Realtor, list and/or sell your property.
2022 Sold Properties- $21,130,160 2022 Pending Properties - $25,410,530 For these and other properties, visit JoanPletcher.com for information, videos and more choices. Call or Text: 352.266.9100 | 352.804.8989 | email@example.com | joanpletcher.com Due to the privacy and at the discretion of my clients, there are additional training centers, estates and land available that are not advertised.
Let Me Show You Ocala! JUST LISTED
Classic Elegance On 5.5+/- Acres
Brand New Construction!
In gated equine-friendly community of Summit II. 4 ensuite bedrooms. Owners suite offers separate baths. Spacious great room with fireplace and lanai access. Private lap pool. Stable offers 3 stalls plus additional covered parking and storage areas. $1,499,000
Located in Summit II on 3.81+/- acres. 5,900+ SF, 4-bedroom, 4.5-bath home. Luxurious kitchen with top-of-the-line appliances. Great room with fireplace, beverage area and access to pool and lanai. Attached 3-car garage. $2,290,000
39.78 Acres – NW Ocala
Less than 1 mile to HITS show grounds and 12 miles to the World Equestrian Center. Green pastures to raise and train your horses. Perfect for jumpers or eventers. If you are looking for a seasonal place, then this is the perfect place and location. $1,389,700
Home is located near shopping, schools and hospitals. Quiet neighborhood off of SR 200. 3-bedroom, 2.5-bath home with open floor plan, formal living, formal dining area and family room with access $315,000 to lanai. Spacious owner’s suite and fenced back yard.
If you’re considering buying or selling, give us a call today! List your property with Joan Pletcher... Our results speak for themselves.
For these and other properties, visit JoanPletcher.com for information, videos and more choices. Call or Text: 352.266.9100 | 352.804.8989 | firstname.lastname@example.org | joanpletcher.com Due to the privacy and at the discretion of my clients, there are additional training centers, estates and land available that are not advertised.
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Westgate River Ranch photo courtesy of Westgate River Ranch; Panic! At The Disco photo courtesy of press.elektramusicgroup.com; Shark photo courtesy of Florida Shark Diving; Marshmallows photo by Kimberly Fahey of Fluft Marshmallows
CONTENTS // JUL 2022 FEATURE 20 // H A P PY G L A MP ERS
Fantastic Florida glamping spots for the perfect family getaway.
6 // TO P 10 T H IN GS TO DO IN T H E 3 52 A handy guide to get you going and keep you busy this month.
10 // H O METOW N BOYS
Local band releases new album and heads out on multi-city tour.
12 // A G O O D CAUS E
The Royal Gatsby Gala is a winner for cancer research.
14 // CO N C ERT S P OT LIG H T
Last-minute tickets and local shows you won’t want to miss.
EXPLORE 16 // FLOAT O N
Located right here in Marion County, Rainbow Springs is one of Florida’s largest natural springs. Have you visited lately?
18 // C LOS E EN COUN T ERS
When people hear the word shark they typically run (or swim) the other way. But for Bryce Rohrer, a captain, dive guide and professional shark diver, the word shark means his day is about to get exciting.
28 // BIT E-S IZ ED BITS
Monthly celebrations, time for trivia night and marvelous marshmallows you’ve gotta try.
3 0 // P O O LS IDE P OURS
Mixing up your favorite poolside refreshers.
ON THE COVER: Westgate River Ranch, photo courtesy of Westgate River Ranch
THINGS TO DO IN THE 352 : A HANDY GUIDE TO GET YOU GOING AND KEEP YOU BUSY THIS MONTH.
SPY SCIENCE // JULY 2-SEPTEMBER 17
SUMMER SUNSET POLO SEASON // SATURDAYS THROUGH SEPTEMBER 24
Head to the Florida Horse Park every Saturday this summer for a polo match starting at 6pm. Tailgate with your friends and family, and check out the weekly theme and halftime challenges for chances to win prizes. Matches are family friendly, and well-behaved dogs are welcome on leash. Community spaces are free and available on a first-come, first-served basis. Reserve your season pass and tailgate space at ocalapolo.com/tailgate-reservations.html.
RED, WHITE AND OCALA SYMPHONY BLUE // JULY 3
Celebrate our nation’s 246th birthday with the Ocala Symphony as they present your favorite music that reverberates red, white and blue. Patriotic marches, film music from The Patriot and a special salute to our troops are just the beginning! Learn more and purchase tickets at reillyartscenter.com.
FANFARES & FIREWORKS // JULY 3
Enjoy an evening of live music and spectacular fireworks presented by WUFT-TV, WUFT-FM and WUFT Classic. The event will take place at the University of Florida Bandshell at Flavet Field, located at 605 Woodlawn Drive in Gainesville, from 6-10pm. Live entertainment includes Sooza Brass Band, Bears and Lions, the Gainesville Community Band and the Gainesville “POPS” under the direction of Gary Langford. The fireworks will begin at approximately 9:40pm. Food trucks will be on-site. No dogs, sparklers, drones or alcohol are allowed at the event. Coolers are allowed, but may be subject to search by the University of Florida Police Department. Learn more at wuft.org/fireworks. CONTINUED ON PG 08
Summer Sunset Polo photo courtesy of Ocala Polo Club; Ocala Symphony photo by Maven Photo + Film, courtesy of Reilly Arts Center
The Discovery Center’s newest exhibit, Spy Science, will be on display through September 17. Go undercover to find out how spies disguise themselves, communicate and catch the bad guys. Can you crack the code and find the crook without being recognized? Spy Science is open at the Discovery Center during regular hours, Tuesday-Saturday from 10am-4pm. General admission is $8 per person, children 2 and under are free, and seniors and veteran admission is $7. Learn more at mydiscoverycenter.org.
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IGGY’S 4 ON THE FOURTH FREEDOM RUN // JULY 4
Celebrate Independence Day with a four-mile run through SE Ocala, starting and ending at Veterans Memorial Park. Proceeds from this event benefit the Ocala-Marion County Veterans Memorial Park and the We Can Weekend program. Parking is available in the Ocala Public Library parking lot. Goodie bags will be given out on a first-come, first-serve basis, and runners will receive an American flag just before the finish line. Awards will be given out in five-year age groups, with custom awards for first, second and third place. Day-of registration and packet pickup opens at 6:30am, closing at 7:20am. The four-mile run/walk starts at 7:30am, the one-mile run/walk starts at 7:35 and the awards ceremony begins at 8:45am. Learn more and register at runsignup.com/races.
FAMILY DISCOVERY CAMP // JULY 9, 16, 23, 30
CITRUS COUNTY KENNEL CLUB HORSESHOE CLUSTER // JULY 8-10
Citrus County Kennel Club is proud to host the AKC All-Breed Show at World Equestrian Center. Daily feature classes include National Owner Handled Series and Best Junior Handler classes. Saturday’s feature classes will be Best Puppy In Show, and Sunday classes will conclude with Best Junior Handler Overall, including a reserve selection. The show will be held in Exposition Center 2. It is open to public spectating, but all competing dogs must be officially entered. Events will take place 8am-6pm. For additional details, visit worldequestriancenter.com.
The Florida Museum of Natural History is hosting several Family Discovery Camps throughout the month. Explore the natural world with scientists and museum staff at this outdoor experience for the whole family. Young learners can discover how scientists work in the field and how to use the tools of science for themselves. Topics for the four weeks are water, fossils, spiders, and reptiles and amphibians. These two-hour sessions are designed for children finishing grades kindergarten through sixth and their families. Camps explore the outdoors through the University of Florida Natural Area Teaching Laboratory, so wear appropriate footwear and clothing. Registration is required and will close the Thursday before each camp session. Price is $15 for non-members and $12 for members. Learn more at floridamuseum.ufl.edu/kids/summer-camps.
SEUSSICAL JR. // JULY 29-31
All your favorite Dr. Seuss characters are at Ocala Civic Theatre this month in a fantastical musical extravaganza— and they need you to bring them to life! Students ages 12-18 have worked all summer to bring you this performance, hosted by OCT’s Musical Theatre Conservatory, and their hard work ends with a weekend of performances. Shows are July 29 at 7:30pm, July 30 at 2pm and July 31 at 2pm. Tickets are $12 for adults and $8 for ages 18 and younger. Learn more at ocalacivictheatre.com.
Marion Cultural Alliance will host its annual Art in the Attic yART Sale this month during gallery hours at the Brick City Center for the Arts. The event is a fundraiser for MCA that features previously enjoyed art, craft supplies, home décor, books, jewelry, frames and everything cool and unique—all at yard sale prices. Get first dibs on all the treasures on July 15 from 5-7pm during the VIP reception. This ticketed event gives a first-look, first-buy opportunity for art enthusiasts. VIP guests will also enjoy live music and a Pop-Up Artists’ Market where some MCA artists members will sell their old art pieces at great prices. Tickets are $20 for MCA members or $25 for nonmembers in advance or $25 for all at the door. The sale is then open to the public July 16-23. Admission to the sale is free, but donations are appreciated. The gallery is open Tuesday-Friday from 10am-5pm and Saturday from 11am-4pm. Visit mcaocala.org for more info. 8
19TH ANNUAL BACK TO SCHOOL BASH // JULY 30 The 19th annual Back To School bash will be held from 10am-1pm at the Friends Recycling Center, located at 2350 NW 27th Avenue in Ocala. Hosted by the Marion County Children’s Alliance, Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida, Inc., the City of Ocala and the Marion County Public School System, this drive-through-only event provides backpacks filled with school supplies and a free lunch for all adult and child attendees (while supplies last). Children must be in the car to receive a backpack, and participants cannot get out of their cars and no walk-ups are allowed. Registration is not required. For more information, to donate supplies or for sponsorship opportunities, call (352) 438-5993 or (352) 509-9279.
Art In The Attic photo courtesy of Marion Cultural Alliance
ART IN THE ATTIC // JULY 15-23
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TO UR DATES David Carmichael Jr., Jason Feagin & Andrew Miller
Hometown Boys Local band releases new album and heads out on multi-city tour.
// W R I T T E N A N D P H O T O G R A P H E D B Y J E S S E J A M E S
ake a stroll through downtown Ocala on a Saturday night and you’re sure to hear live music coming from every corner. Musicians, artists and other creatives are adding new life to the city. For one band, music is more than sound. Baseline has been making some noise around our town. The three-piece band calls Ocala home while churning out impressive originals. After dreaming of playing music and writing songs in his younger years, Andrew Miller honed his craft and started performing under the moniker Baseline. Andrew then met Jason Feagin, who has remained the band’s core through various lineup changes. These days, the band includes Andrew as lead singer/guitarist, Jason on bass and 10
drummer David Carmichael Jr. Andrew spoke about his inspiration to make music. “I just wanted to write songs like all my heroes,” he says. “I just wanted to take what I was feeling or whatever I thought I could feel and put it into song form.” The group has a passion for music and making good music, which makes them stand out in the crowd. The band recently released their EP Landfill, which merges the sounds of punk, alternative and grunge. The project was released in March on Salvaged Records and included the single “Left Behind,” which features a video shot in our downtown area. Baseline has been quite busy since the release of Landfill. On June 24, they
JULY 5 THE BARK TALLAHASSEE, FL JULY 10 MUTINY BAR OCALA, FL JULY 11 WILL’S PUB ORLANDO, FL will take the stage at Lucy’s in Gainesville before embarking on a seven-day tour that will go through Memphis, Nashville and Winston-Salem. Baseline will then be back in town, performing at the above, recently announced shows. Baseline // Follow the band on Facebook: @baselineocala // New EP Landfill on Bandcamp (https://baselineocala.bandcamp.com/) or your favorite streaming platform.
Through November 6
Invented Observations Photographs by Steven Benson
Appleton Museum, Artspace and Store
Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday, noon-5 p.m. 4333 E. Silver Springs Blvd. | AppletonMuseum.org
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A Good Cause The Royal Gatsby Gala is a winner for cancer research. // W R I T T E N A N D P H O T O G R A P H E D B Y R O N A L D W. W E T H E R I N G T O N
ou know the party is a success when guests arrive early and stay late. This was the case recently at the Circle Square Cultural Center as the Ocala Royal Dames for Cancer Research presented the Royal Gatsby Gala. Event Co-Chairs Sheri Turner and Nancy Porter worked with a large committee of about 20 women to ensure the event was a success. Wearing cocktail or themed attire, guests were welcomed for cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and silent and live auctions. The evening’s invocation was given by the Master of Ceremonies, Dr. David Sokol. As president of the Ocala Royal Dames for Cancer Research, Dr. Patricia Sokol welcomed guests, and attendees were moved by Robin Gump’s family’s story and video about cancer. Thinking of the evening’s themed question, “Why are we here?” Dr. Sokol says, “The 35th annual signature event, the 2022 Royal Gatsby Gala, will be our first big fundraising effort since the 2020-2021 Covid pandemic. We are excited about having a good time and raising a lot of money for cancer research.” Indeed, the evening’s event raised $130,000. “The seed money that we provide to the young researchers in our two Florida Cancer research centers assists them in their quest for a cure and provides data for larger research grants,” says Dr. Sokol. Although the evening was something straight out of Las Vegas with attractive showgirls, Texas Hold ‘Em tables, Roulette wheels, money wheels and slot machines, the seriousness of the event was never forgotten. Reserve the night of March 25, 2023 for a Masquerade Gala to be held by the Ocala Royal Dames. Learn more at ocalaroyaldames.org.
Nadia & Frank Rasbury
Dr. Erin Cipher, Patricia Sokol, Dr. Elias Sayour, Dan Zhang & John Wingard
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Frank & Fay Dwings, Colleen Smith & Marilyn Smith
David & Patricia Sokol, Katherine & Tony Derias
Richard & Cecilia Truesdale
Michelle Dinkins, Kristen Mcghinn, Barbara Hopkins & Kathy Dinkins
Robin Gump, Jamie, Gerve Losito, Landon & Madison Losito
Jason & Liz Kline, Dallas Mitca
Helen Greene, Nancy Porter & Terry Doukess
Diana & Dr. David Lammamier
Deputy Foss & Sgt. Nasworth
Megan Gonzalez, Evelyn Beck & Cleo Young
Frank DeLuca, Angela Grace, Michelle & Charlie Stone
Tom & Judy Green
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HOUSTON KEEN Bank Street Patio Bar // July 5
JEFF JARRETT Ocala downtown square // July 14
SANDRA & ALEX LEKID Milano Italian Grille // July 20
Panic! At The Disco
Terrace on the Square // July 21
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HARLEQUIN The First & Last Tab Food & Spirits // July 30
Raymond James Stadium, Tampa // August 4
Amway Center, Orlando // September 14
Camping World Stadium, Orlando // September 15
MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre at the FL State Fairgrounds, Tampa // August 19
DIERKS BENTLEY MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre at the FL State Fairgrounds, Tampa // August 20
THE LUMINEERS Amway Center, Orlando // August 23
GOO GOO DOLLS Daily’s Place, Jacksonville // August 24
THE BLACK KEYS WITH BAND OF HORSES
RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS
LIZZO Amalie Arena, Tampa // September 24
ALICE IN CHAINS AND BREAKING BENJAMIN WITH BUSH MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre at the FL State Fairgrounds, Tampa // September 30
LUKE BRYAN MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre at the FL State Fairgrounds, Tampa // October 1 VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena, Jacksonville // October 28
MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre at the FL State Fairgrounds, Tampa // August 25
PANIC! AT THE DISCO
SANTANA WITH EARTH, WIND & FIRE
ZAC BROWN BAND
MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre at the FL State Fairgrounds, Tampa // August 27
MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre at the FL State Fairgrounds, Tampa // October 8
Daily’s Place, Jacksonville // September 2
Amalie Arena, Tampa // October 11
Amalie Arena, Tampa // October 5
THE MUDDS Yellow Pony Pub & Garden // July 30
REMEMBERING JOHN DENVER, A TRIBUTE STARRING TED VIGIL Marion Theatre // July 16 Last year Ted Vigil was awarded the Rising Legend Award by the National Traditional Country Music Association. Ted also performed with Steve Wiesberg, John Denver’s lead guitar player from the ‘70s.
CAROLYN DAWN JOHNSON Orange Blossom Opry // July 30 Carolyn Dawn Johnson is a Canadian country music singer-songwriter and five-time Winner of the CCMA’s Female Artist of the Year. Carolyn hit the charts with “Complicated,” “I Don’t Want You To Go” and “Die of A Broken Heart.”
WINDFM ROCKS THE REILLY: THE WILDFLOWERS Reilly Arts Center // August 20 The Wildflowers are taking you back to the late ‘80s when Tom Petty hits like “American Girl” and “Free Fallin’” topped the charts and ruled the airwaves. You’ll be entertained by so many of the iconic Petty songs, like “Refugee,” “You Got Lucky,” “Learning to Fly” and more. *Editor’s Note: Tickets were available for all concerts as of date of publication. Dates are subject to change at the discretion of the venue.
Photo courtesy of press.elektramusicgroup.com
NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA’S LITE MUSIC STATION Elton John•Hall & Oates•Chicago•Phil Collins U2•Billy Joel•The Eagles•& Much More
99.5 FM Gainesville
99.7 FM Ocala/The Villages
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Float On Located right here in Marion County, Rainbow Springs is one of Florida’s largest natural springs. Have you visited lately? // B Y K A R I N F A B R Y- C U S H E N B E R Y
Photo courtesy of Florida State Parks
ainbow Springs State Park features one of Florida’s first-magnitude springs, and the water flow out of this particular spring is the fourth highest among all the springs in the state. The crystal-clear waters make it a popular destination for swimmers, tubers, kayakers and more. Plus, a dip in the spring waters is a perfect way to escape from Florida’s often scorching summer heat. “Since the water stays 72-degrees yearround, it is incredibly refreshing to swim in during the hot summer months,” says Alexandra Kuchta with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. “The depth of the spring varies from five to 18 feet, and the remarkable clarity of the water means that swimmers have ample opportunities to spot fish, turtles and other aquatic wildlife. Snorkeling is another fun way to peer into this diverse aquatic habitat and is allowed in the buoyed swimming area.” One of the most popular activities in the park is tubing. “Tubing the Rainbow River is a fantastic way to kick back, relax and take a cool, lazy float down one of Florida’s beautiful, natural rivers,” says Erin McDade of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. “Since tubing is not available in the headsprings area of the park, a dedicated tubing entrance is located a few miles from the main park entrance on Southwest 180th Avenue Road in Dunnellon. The park’s official concessionaire offers tubing rentals and a shuttle service for visitors.” “The spring flows into the spring run, also called the Rainbow River,” adds Alexandra. “Paddlers and tubers can enjoy the same beautiful water as it flows out of the spring, eventually reaching the Withlacoochee River.” Canoe and kayak rentals are available daily within the park, and tube rentals are available outside the park at a separate tubing entrance. Although Rainbow Springs State Park is known for its aquatic adventures, the park also features an abundance of beautiful gardens from when the headsprings once operated as a private attraction. “In the 1930s, Rainbow Springs opened as a privately owned theme park,” says Alexandra.
“Although most freshwater spring tourist attractions in Florida offered some form of glassbottom boat rides, Rainbow Springs featured distinctive ‘sub-boats’ with stairs that went below the waterline so visitors could look out in the spring at eye-level. Waterfalls were installed and a zoo, rodeo, gift shops and a monorail with leafshaped gondolas were also added.” Eventually the theme park closed. It was in the 1990s that Rainbow Springs reopened as a Florida State Park. Today the park features more than 1,470 acres, and the Rainbow River is now a designated National Natural Landmark, an Outstanding Florida Water and a Florida Aquatic Preserve. “In early spring, the entire headsprings area bursts into pinks, purples and whites thanks to its azalea blooms. Trails, like the 2.5-mile nature trail, offer great views of the river and landscape,” adds Alexandra. “Other experiences include birding, geo-seeking, picnicking, wildlife viewing, camping and fishing.”
For those looking to extend their stay, the Rainbow Springs campground offers water and electric hook-ups, and all sites are equipped with sewer hook-ups. There’s clean showers, restrooms and laundry facilities, and a campground store is there in case you forgot something at home. There are even canoe and kayak rentals available at the campground store. “The campground entrance is located approximately six miles from the headsprings and sits along the Rainbow River,” says Erin. “The campground contains nature trails that wind through sandhill and oak hammock communities and has its own river access for campers. Campers that bring their own tubes can launch directly from the campground and take the shuttle back.” Rainbow Springs State Park // 19158 SW 81st Place Road, Dunnellon // (352) 465-8555 // floridastateparks.org
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but most all encounters are much less extreme than people would think. “At Florida Shark Diving we are lucky to be able to see a large amount and variety of sharks, including many premier species [like] Tiger, Great Hammerhead, Bull, Dusky, Silky, Lemon, Sandbar, Blacktip and Reef Sharks to name a few,” Bryce adds. Bryce and his team of experienced divers and guides get all types on their dives, from bucket
IT’S ABOUT RESPECTING THE ANIMAL AND EITHER UNDERSTANDING THEM YOURSELF OR DIVING WITH SOMEONE WHO UNDERSTANDS SHARKS WELL. IF YOU HAVE THOSE BASICS DOWN, IT’S VERY SAFE AND COMFORTABLE TO VIEW SHARKS IN THEIR NATURAL SETTINGS. -BRYCE ROHRER, CAPTAIN & DIVE GUIDE
Close Encounters When people hear the word shark they typically run (or swim) the other way. But for Bryce Rohrer, a captain, dive guide and professional shark diver, the word shark means his day is about to get exciting. // B Y K A R I N F A B R Y- C U S H E N B E R Y
ryce Rohrer has spent decades on the water diving with sharks, the last 15 professionally, so there’s no doubt he has many exciting tales to tell. ”When you spend years and years on the ocean you see and experience a lot of incredible events,” he says. “Some that stand out would be an 18-foot Great White shark eating a dead whale in my home waters of Nantucket Island, diving with a huge pod of oceanic killer whales in a remote part of the Bahamas and many dives with multiple Tiger and Great Hammerhead sharks. That being said, there really are too many to count. The ocean provides all the time.” At Florida Shark Diving, which has free and cage diving opportunities in Jupiter, Bryce takes adventure seekers out on the water to come face to face with some of nature’s most misunderstood creatures. The adventures take place about three miles offshore in the Gulf Stream waters where visibility ranges from 40 to 100 feet. The team will tailor the dive needs to the group, up to six people. (There’s even an opportunity for shark viewing trips where participants stay in the boat.) “One of the greatest and most common themes to when people first get into the water with sharks is a sense of calm takes over once you’re actually in the water sharing space with the animal,” says Bryce. “Most people tend to think this is more of an adrenaline rush type of activity like skydiving, but I’ve seen for myself and in the thousands of people I’ve taken diving that it’s actually a more calming and reflective observation type of activity. There are, of course, situations with sharks that are intense,
listers to family groups to honeymooners looking for a little excitement. Bryce says it’s a safe environment and they can accommodate anyone from first timers to pros. For newbies, the cage is lowered into the water and divers can enter and exit the cage as much as they like during the excursion. Rest assured divers are safe and secure in the cage. It’s all about providing a responsible encounter for both the divers and the sharks. “It’s about respecting the animal and either understanding them yourself or diving with someone who understands sharks well,” he says. “If you have those basics down, it’s very safe and comfortable to view sharks in their natural settings.” No SCUBA certification is required for shark dives. The trips typically last about three hours, and sharks are guaranteed. Florida Shark Diving provides all the necessary gear. “It’s great to get into the wild and be able to witness and interact with such a great animal as a shark,” says Bryce. “It helps the sharks, as the public learns the truth about them, and it often helps the person as much or more to get out on the ocean for some real adventure.” Florida Shark Diving // 1095 N HWY A1A, Jupiter // (305) 395-9140 // floridasharkdiving.com
Photos courtesy of Florida Shark Diving
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GLAMPERS Fantastic Florida glamping spots for the perfect family getaway. By Melissa Peterson 20
rom yurts, teepees and tents to huts, pods and even treehouses, glamping has turned sleeping under the stars into a luxury experience. If your family needs a little downtime this summer but you’re looking for more comfort and style than traditional camping can provide, glamping is the perfect alternative. These Florida glamping spots offer a healthy dose of outdoor fun without sacrificing the comforts of a resort-style experience. So start planning your getaway and leave the sleeping bags at home—you’ll be one happy glamper at these dream destinations.
Photos courtesy of Westgate River Ranch
Just one hour south of Orlando in Polk County, you and your family can kick back and relax in the beautiful, great wide open that is Westgate River Ranch. As an authentic dude ranch, the resort is known for offering a unique glamping experience, allowing visitors a luxury stay without losing that country vibe that is so prevalent at the resort. Located on some of the last untouched pieces of wilderness that Florida has to offer, the ranch is nestled on 1,700 acres overlooking the scenic Kissimmee River. With horseback riding, an award-winning Saturday night rodeo, the River Ranch Cattle Company Steakhouse’s mouth-watering meals and so much more, the ranch is the ideal destination for an unforgettable family vacation getaway. “Here at Westgate River Ranch Resort & Rodeo, we take pride in our ability to forge together traditional camping with modern amenities you’ve come to expect in luxury hospitality,” says Pablo Baez, general manager at Westgate River Ranch. “It is with our glamping and camping options that this ability truly shines. From our brand-new luxe Conestoga wagons and luxury glamping tents to our luxe teepees, all the way to our platform camping tents and primitive camping, you’ll be able to experience Florida as it was originally intended— surrounded by all of its natural beauty.” The outdoor recreation offered at Westgate River Ranch is unmatched, and with over a dozen activities, your family is sure to find something that will excite everyone, including a rodeo, petting farm, bungee jumping, golf, trap and skeet shooting, fishing and more. Days at the ranch are spent disconnecting from daily stress and diving into nature while embarking on family-friendly activities, such as horseback riding, swamp buggy tours and airboat rides. On Saturdays, guests are invited to pull on their boots, bring a bandana and mosey on over to the Westgate Rodeo. Saddle up for an evening of family fun and excitement as rodeo
WESTGATE RIVER RANCH RESORT & RODEO
athletes from across the region compete weekly at the 1,200-seat rodeo arena in trick riding, barrel racing and bull riding. Whether you decide to give glamping a try or stay in a luxe teepee or lodge, you’ll get a beautiful view of nature while resting comfortably. “Look no further than our first-rate Florida lodge and cottage rentals for a one-of-a-kind vacation in comfortable and luxurious lodging, intricately designed to exude an authentic ranch-like feel,” says Pablo. “Guests can expect fully furnished accommodations outfitted with the comforts of home, privacy, high-end furnishings with modern décor and fascinating views of the resort from every angle. Nothing at the River Ranch is ordinary, so come experience a unique adventure that you and your loved ones will always remember.” Any time of the year is the perfect time to visit Westgate River Ranch. Special events happen
year-round, with the very popular Nashville Singer-Songwriter Series happening once a month. The resort brings in the most talented musicians from Nashville for an intimate concert right in the property’s saloon. This month, the resort will have a July 4th celebration with fireworks, music and lots of family fun, and Halloween will be extra special this year, with elaborate decorations and theming. “As the largest dude ranch east of the Mississippi, Westgate River Ranch fully embraces the Old Florida lifestyle of cowboys and cattle ranchers,” says Pablo. “Packed full of outdoor activities, we’ll have you reliving the old-fashioned days of the old West with fun, modern upgrades.” Westgate River Ranch Resort & Rodeo // 3200 River Ranch Boulevard, River Ranch // westgateresorts.com JUL ‘22
WE EDUCATE OUR GUESTS ABOUT THIS LAND WHILE USING OUR PROFITS TO DO ECOSYSTEM RESTORATION WORK. WE TAKE ENORMOUS PRIDE IN OUR BUSINESS PHILOSOPHY OF TWO-FOLD RESTORATION: WE OFFER OUR GUESTS A PLACE TO RELAX THE MIND AND BODY WHILE WE WORK TO CONSERVE BIODIVERSITY AND HABITAT.
MARY BANNISTER, VENUE COORDINATOR
Coldwater Gardens, located north of Pensacola near the Alabama state line, is a small, familyowned business where visitors come to unplug, reconnect and have fun in nature. The property is largely made up of longleaf pine ecosystem, one of the most diverse but most endangered types of landscapes in the world. “We are a little oasis in the woods,” says Mary Bannister, venue coordinator, with Coldwater Gardens. “We educate our guests about this land while using our profits to do ecosystem restoration work. We take enormous pride in our business philosophy of two-fold restoration: We offer our guests a place to relax the mind and body while we work to conserve biodiversity and habitat.” A unique woodland retreat, everything you would want for a fun getaway is located on the property, so there’s no need to stray too far. Coldwater Gardens is family friendly and encourages exploration, education and fun. “Everyone on our 10-person staff is very knowledgeable and enthusiastic about where they work,” says Mary, “and we are a small enough operation that we have the opportunity to speak with every guest. Our property is also spaced-out and secluded, [and] guests tell us even when we’re completely booked up that they felt like they had the place to themselves.” The property’s six glamping tents allow guests to escape back to nature in style with all of the excitement of camping with some added comforts. The tents are situated on a gentle slope overlooking a pine savannah and are 22
Photos courtesy of Coldwater Gardens
BACK TO NATURE
about one mile from the creek, where guests can enjoy tubing, swimming and relaxing on the beach. Each tent has two queen beds, a mini refrigerator, coffee maker (with coffee, cream, sugar and mugs provided), fan, charcoal grill and firepit. A centrally located bathhouse in the glamping area has showers and restrooms, and the glamping area has a koi pond, meandering trails and a path straight to the gardens. A direct road connects the glamping area to the creek so that guests may drive, walk or bike. Guests are welcome to explore and enjoy
the property’s gardens, which include bunnies, chickens, greenhouses, a koi fish aquaponic system and a hydroponic system using nutrient tubes. “The gardens are a great educational opportunity for all ages,” says Mary. “Petting and holding the baby bunnies is definitely a guest favorite. Baby bunnies can be adopted at 6 weeks. The garden area also has a playground, tetherball, horseshoes and pingpong. Our property also has 1.5 miles of access to Coldwater Creek. Guests can relax on our
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park’s seven miles of paved roads and the 20 miles of unpaved, multi-use trails are also popular recreational activities. If you’re looking to extend your visit, the park’s glamping sites offer the excitement of the great outdoors without sacrificing the luxuries and comforts of home. “Glamping is available in either a luxury tent site in the campground or in eco tent sites near the park’s equestrian area,” says Tim Linafelt, communications manager for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Recreation and Parks. “We offer an extensive selection of amenities at our glamping sites. Some of these include a luxury bell tent, queen bed with
Photos courtesy of Florida State Parks
LAKE LOUISA STATE PARK
WE OFFER AN EXTENSIVE SELECTION OF AMENITIES AT OUR GLAMPING SITES. SOME OF THESE INCLUDE A LUXURY BELL TENT, QUEEN BED WITH EURO-TOP MATTRESS, LINENS, BATH TOWELS, COOLING AND HEATING UNITS, COFFEE MAKERS, BEDSIDE TABLES, CHANDELIERS, INTERIOR SEATING AREAS, AN EXTERIOR SEATING AREA WITH A FIRE PIT, DEVICE CHARGING STATIONS AND EXTERIOR MARKET LIGHTS.” TIM LINAFELT, COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER FOR THE FLORIDA DEPT. OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION
creek-side sandbars and go swimming. We offer inner tubes for sale, and tubing is popular in the summer. Guests can also bring their own kayaks and canoes. We also have seven miles of beautiful hiking and biking trails through woodland and pine savannah.” In addition to the glamping tents, the property also offers four luxury eco-cottages, a treehouse, a cabana, a tiny house and primitive campsites. Each accommodation (aside from primitive camping) has a full kitchen or kitchenette and bathroom. Coldwater Gardens offers donation-based yoga classes (taught by Mary) at least once a week, with proceeds from the classes helping to fund the longleaf pine ecosystem restoration work. They will also be hosting a weekend yoga retreat September 2325, and Coldwater Gardens is the perfect place for weddings, parties and corporate retreats. “Coldwater Gardens is an important place for bringing families together and helping 24
kids and adults alike discover a love and appreciation for the natural world,” says Mary. “Families can explore the gardens, trails and creek together before kicking back in a comfy accommodation. The best memories are made sitting around the campfire making s’mores and looking up at the many stars.” Coldwater Gardens // 7009 Creek Stone Rd., Milton // (850) 426-1300 // coldwatergardens.com
Located just south of Ocala in Clermont, Lake Louisa State Park showcases a diverse range of wildlife, including deer, bobcat, gopher tortoises, and bald eagles and osprey. The park is also home to 11 distinct natural plant communities and three major lakes where visitors can enjoy canoeing, kayaking and paddleboarding. Bicycling and hiking on the
euro-top mattress, linens, bath towels, cooling and heating units, coffee makers, bedside tables, chandeliers, interior seating areas, an exterior seating area with a fire pit, device charging stations and exterior market lights.” Each campsite can accommodate up to two people, but guests may rent up to two additional airbeds for $25 each or may bring up to two additional sleeping bags to accommodate a maximum of four people. Some campsites offer extra tents or beds, firewood, camp stoves and more for an additional cost. Glamping sites at Lake Louisa State Park can be reserved through the park’s concessionaire at lakelouisastatepark.com or by calling (352) 503-4489. Glamping is also offered at four other Florida state parks, including Topsail Hill Preserve, Lake Kissimmee State Park, Hillsborough River State Park and Alafia River State Park. You can learn more about these parks at floridastateparks.org. Lake Louisa State Park // 7305 U.S. Hwy 27, Clermont // (352) 503-4489 // lakelouisastatepark.com
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EQUIPPING STUDENTS FOR EXCELLENCE For more than half a century, St. John Lutheran School has been the choice of Marion County parents seeking a safe, enriching environment where their children can learn and grow.
s of August 2022, St, John will officially be a STEAM school, providing expanded opportunities for students at every grade level to excel in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics. The latest programs for middle and high school include robotics and agriculture, featuring hydroponics growing technology, plus a schoolwide emphasis on fitness and nutrition. An exciting development for high school is the four-year aviation program, which is new this year. This is especially appealing to students with
HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS AT ST. JOHN BENEFIT FROM THE MANY ADVANTAGES OF A SMALL SCHOOL ATMOSPHERE, WHERE INDIVIDUALIZED ATTENTION ALLOWS THEM TO BETTER GRASP EVEN COMPLICATED SUBJECTS.
goals of becoming a pilot, air traffic controller, aircraft engineer or those pursuing another career in the rewarding field of aviation. St. John stands firmly behind their mission statement of “pursuing academic excellence through the relational impact of Christcentered learning.” More than ever before, families want to 26
know they can trust their school’s teachers and administrators to support cherished values and beliefs. Students from pre-K through high school thrive as they prepare to go out into the world strengthened by academic excellence and a Biblical worldview. With a strong foundation, every child can succeed and become a life-long learner. “We strive to be not just a school but a family,” says Pastor Jeff Shanks. Classroom experience is greatly enhanced by numerous extracurricular options, including activities, clubs and traditional athletics and eSports. High school students at St. John benefit from the many advantages of a small school atmosphere, where individualized
attention allows them to better grasp even complicated subjects. On average, 95 percent of students graduating from St. John are accepted into the college of their choice. This comes as no surprise when you realize that two-thirds of each graduating class have a GPA of 3.5 or higher. Financial assistance may be available for your child to attend St. John Lutheran School, which was voted “Best of the Best” private school in Ocala for 2017, 2019, 2020 and 2021. Step Up For Students is an income-based scholarship program that allows families to receive an average of $7,000 per year for K-12 private school. New household income limits now apply, making more families eligible and dependents of Florida law enforcement officers are now eligible, regardless of income. Please visit stepupforstudents.org for more information. St. John Lutheran School is currently accepting applications for enrollment.
St. John Lutheran School // 1915 SE Lake Weir Avenue, Ocala // (352) 622-7275 // stjohnocala.org // Pre-K-12th grade
ITALIAN BAKERY & DELI MAGNOLIA BAKERY Pastries, Cakes & Subs 1412 N Magnolia Ave. | Ocala (352)207-2667
JMARIE BRANDS 1760 SE 58th Ave | Ocala (352)659-1838 jmariebrands.com JMarieBrands
JEWELZ ENTERTAINMENT & BALLOON DESIGN 1913 NE 14th St., Unit 101 | Ocala (352)236-4333 firstname.lastname@example.org jewelzentertainment.com NEXT UP ENTERTAINMENT DJ, Karaoke & Wedding Officiant (352)593-1161 email@example.com nextupentertainment.org KJDJNextUpKaraoke
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SARA FAY’S GLUTEN FREE BAKERY 2435 SW 27th Ave | Ocala (352)895-4090 sarafayfarm.com sarafayfarm
WILD ORANGE GRAZING CO. (352)233-6595 firstname.lastname@example.org wildorangegrazing @wildorangegrazing
COAST2COAST LENDING Stephanie M. Spink, CVLS, CMPS® (352)454-8801 email@example.com mortgagesbystephanie.com
HEALTH & BEAUTY MINAMI GRANITE DESIGNS 1806 NE 2nd Ave. | Ocala (352)671-9800 minamigranitedesign.com firstname.lastname@example.org KIMBERLY LITTELL MASSAGE THERAPY OCALA FL (352)209-6614 organicspalife.com organicspalife @organicspalife
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MILANO ITALIAN GRILLE 5400 SW College Rd. | Ocala (352)304-8549 milanotogo.com JUL ‘22
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What’s more fun than going out to eat with friends? How about enjoying great food and great laughs. Plenty of local restaurants offer trivia nights throughout the week where you and your friends can show off your useless knowledge. Here are a handful of them. Verify with the restaurant before making the trip since schedules and plans may change.
BLACK SHEEP O N B R O A D WAY 128 SW Broadway Street THURSDAY NIGHTS @ 7-9PM
THE CRAZY CUCUMBER
Kimberly Fahey recently discovered she has a knack for making delicious homemade marshmallows. She knew she had a product others would love, and so Fluft was born. Kim makes and sells her creations out of her home under Florida’s cottage food law. And mind you, Kim’s homemade treats are nothing like store-bought marshmallows. “Our marshmallows are huge,” she says. “Homemade marshmallows are a whole different experience. They are creamy, fluffy and full of flavor. They melt in your mouth and make a superior s’more. They are a dessert in and of themselves.” Another great reason to taste-test
PINA COLADA DAY
Kim’s marshmallows? The flavors are out of this world. Her personal favorite is the churro, but other indemand combos include Strawberry Shortcake, Nutella Cheesecake and the Campfire S’more, which is a vanilla bean marshmallow dipped in milk chocolate, rolled in graham cracker dust and then toasted on top. Yum! If you’re ready to order, and we bet you are, you can check out Fluft and order anytime at fancymallows.com. You’ll also find Kim’s pop-up schedule there, or you can find her at the downtown farmers market on the last Wednesday of each month between 4-8pm.
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G AT O R ’ S D O C K S I D E 3920 SW 42nd Street, #101 THURSDAY NIGHTS @ 7PM
CHARLIE HORSE 2426 E Silver Springs Blvd. THURSDAY NIGHTS @ 6:30PM
O ’CA L A H A N S P U B & E AT E R Y 3155 E Silver Springs Blvd. MONDAY NIGHTS @ 7PM
THE LODGE BRICK CITY C R A F T P U B & E AT E R Y 36 S Magnolia Avenue TUESDAY NIGHTS @ 7PM
BANK STREET PAT I O B A R 120 E Fort King Street WEDNESDAY NIGHTS @ 6PM
ICE CREAM DAY
N AT I O N A L F O O D D AYS I N J U LY 28
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Marshmallow photo courtesy of Kimberly Fahey of Fluft
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Poolside Pours One of the most important pieces of advice we get in the summer is to stay hydrated. And it’s valid advice, right? Especially on those days when the heat index is kicked into high gear. But who says it has to be water? Whether you’re mixing up refreshing concoctions for the kids or the adults in your life, we are happy to share some of our favorite poolside refreshers. • • • • • • • •
1 cup Countrytime Lemonade mix 46 oz pineapple Juice 3 cups cold water 3 cups of sprite 1 cup Malibu rum 1 cup Bacardi Superior rum 2 whole lemons, quartered 1 can pineapple chunks
Combine all ingredients. Chill and serve over ice. Garnish with a pineapple slice.
WATERMELON FROSÉ Recipe and photo courtesy of watermelon.org
CHERRY LIMEADE • 2 liter Sprite or 7 Up • 1 can frozen limeade concentrate, use thawed or frozen
• 1 jar Maraschino cherries with syrup • 1 lime, sliced • Ice
Combine soda, limeade concentrate and cherry syrup. Chill and serve over ice. Garnish with cherries and lime. 30
• • • •
Small watermelon wedges for garnish 6 cups cubed watermelon 1 bottle of 750ml of your favorite rosé wine 2 tbsps agave
Pour rosé into ice cube tray, and freeze at least four hours. Cube watermelon, and freeze. Blend frozen rosé, frozen watermelon cubes and agave until smooth. If serving immediately, pour into glasses with a spatula (mix will quickly melt due to alcohol). If serving later, pour into shallow pan and freeze (will not freeze completely). When you’re ready to serve, scrape out with a spoon into a glass.
Two Locations: 3790 E Silver Springs Blvd., Ocala // (352) 694-1401 // Mon-Sun 11am-10pm // 3510 SW 36th Ave. (SR 200), Ocala // (352) 291-2121 // Mon-Sun 11am-11pm Head to El Toreo for the best Mexican food this side of the border! Enjoy all of your favorite traditional Mexican dishes in a friendly and festive atmosphere. Beyond the outstanding Mexican food, El Toreo simply offers a warm, fun place to be— whether you’re dressed up or casual. Any day is a good day for one of El Toreo’s tasty margaritas: Mondays and Wednesdays $2 margaritas, Saturdays 2-for-1 margaritas and 2-for-1 happy hour every day from 4-7pm (excluding margaritas).
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LA CUISINE FRENCH RESTAURANT 48 SW 1st Ave Ocala // (352) 433 2570 // lacuisineocala.com Tue-Sun 5-9pm // Sun 11am-2pm // Closed Monday Treat yourself to a memorable dining experience at La Cuisine. Only the highest quality ingredients and produce are used to create traditional French fare in a one-of-a-kind atmosphere. Reminiscent of a quaint Paris bistro, La Cuisine offers an ambiance that is ideal for a family brunch, a business dinner or a romantic evening out. With award-winning dishes that are prepared fresh, in-house, each meal includes personal touches that only La Cuisine can provide. Indoor and outdoor patio dining is available in the heart of beautiful downtown, and you’ll enjoy live music on Fridays and some Saturdays. JUL ‘22
3035 SE MARICAMP RD STE 104, UNIT 168 OCALA, FL 34471
Every Minute Matters Know where to go in an emergency.
EMERGENCY CARE 24/7 From stopping a heart attack in its track to treating a stroke at the first sign of symptoms, our team is ready for every emergency. And, with three locations in Marion County, AdventHealth makes it convenient to access expert emergency care 24/7. So when minutes matter most, you never have to delay getting the care that can save your or your loved ones’s life.
To find an AdventHealth ER near you, visit
* This emergency department is part of AdventHealth Ocala. This is not an urgent care center. Its services and care are billed at hospital emergency department rates.
AdventHealth Belleview ER* 6006 SE Abshier Blvd. Belleview, FL 34420
AdventHealth Ocala 1500 SW 1st Ave. Ocala, FL 34471
AdventHealth TimberRidge ER* 9521 SW State Road 200 Ocala, FL 34481